Donna Osborn (case study) [defensive] by: LaChe'ree Loveless, Diana Caraballo, and Willow Murphy

People of the court, let's take a moment and imagine we're camping in the middle of a jungle and a ferocious tiger comes out and immediately your cortisone levels rise, your adrenaline is pumping, and your brain switches into fight or flight mode. Now lets use our imagination to substitute the tiger for Clinton Osborn Jr. ,who had viciously attacked the defendant constantly and instead of using the rationale that most humans use to realize the reason he was mad was because of underlying stress, he displayed this barbaric animalistic behavior. Donna Osborne was afraid, terrified even as you would be if you were in this abusive situation. This situation led to her making a few bad judgment calls, which is not uncommon for people going through this type of abuse, but she should not be tried for murder because the defendant was simply trying to protect herself in this unsafe household.

The testimonies of people with expertise in a certain field are necessary to proving the validity of one’s argument. However it seems that Lynn Johnson, a professor from Yale, fails to grasp that in a situation like this it is much more difficult to leave than he lets on. In fact Kim Lenore, the psychologist who coined and popularized battered woman syndrome, states that “When someone becomes prey to the psychological condition of learned helplessness, it distorts their feelings, beliefs, and behavior so that they react as though they have no control.” Meaning that the reason Donna didn’t part when she should have, might not have been because she wasn’t in real danger, but instead because she had seccum to the mindset that she didn’t have the control to leave.

In a testimony by Clare Osborn, Clinton’s mother, it came to light that there was an incident that involved physical violence between the defendant Donna Osborn and her husband. The mother attempted to defend her son explaining how he was really stressed by the daunting task of “filling his father’s shoes at the brokerage”. She tried to explain that he was under a lot of pressure, but there is no excuse or explanation for domestic violence, and now the jury can see it wouldn’t take much for him to do these things. Furthermore, it is no longer in question whether he was capable of this physical violence, but instead if this was just an isolated incident or if he continued this behavior behind closed doors. Clare went on to explain that this behavior wasn’t unnatural for Osborn men saying “[Her] husband sometimes lost his temper with [her], but [she] accepted it because he was under great pressure.” The stark reality of the situation is that Clinton could not be trusted to keep a level head when outside stressors were weighing on him and that is something that was made abundantly clear to Donna Osborn and when she realized this she contacted OBW, Options for Battered Women, in search for outside help

Moreover we can't forget about the facts, and the facts are that the defendant Donna Osborn was constantly admitted to their physician for several what was said to be "accidents" by Mr. Osborn. Their physician Lesilie Crown, who Clinton Osborn had know 30 years prior, stated that [she] hadn't ever had the idea in her head that Clinton was abusing the defendant but said Donna was considered “ inept around the house” and "clumsy". The casual excuses on how Mrs. Osborn was "clumsy" on several occasions matched up with the on record calls the defendant sent to the OBW stating what had actually happened to her. Now the prosecution could say that the defendant was given an ample amount of opportunities by the OBW to "depart", but as stated before it wouldn't make a difference because the fear that was already embedded into Mrs. Osborn and the isolation, instilled by her husband over the years, controlled her responses to his actions.

Given these points, it is important that the jury note that Donna Osborn acted solely in self-defense, and in acting in self-defense should be acquitted. She made decisions based on the situation she was in, and the small amount of mistakes made by the defendant can be attributed to her helpless mindset brought on by years of physical and mental abuse in her marriage. She took the right steps first by telling her friends, then by reaching out for help, and in the end acted as any one of us would when trying to protect ourselves.

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